Cooperation, collaboration and compromise: Learning through difference and diversity

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Downloads (Pure)


Multi-institutional and multi-professional research projects are valued for the impact and learning they generate, but their successful completion is crucially dependent on the various actors recognising their differences and working through/with them as a team. This paper is a critical reflection on one such participatory action research project, which involved new migrants and asylum seekers, an NGO, university researchers, and independent trainers in offering intercultural sexual health and gender relations workshops. It charts the course of this project by introducing the key players and focusing on significant differences and opportunities, and the critical learnings that this generated. The paper uses the concept of the ‘paradox lens’ as a way of understanding emerging dilemmas and tensions, and the subsequent compromises, co-operations and collaborations that ensued. In closing, it offers a set of principles generated from reflections on learning that occurred during the project, and which may be amended and adapted for other contexts and action research encounters that hope to engender collaborative learning.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)540-555
Number of pages16
JournalEducational Action Research
Issue number3
Early online date23 Sep 2021
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2023


  • Partcipatory Action Research
  • Adult education
  • Refugees
  • participatory action research
  • Difference/diversity
  • intercultural learning
  • paradox lens
  • multi-organisational projects

Cite this